Bedales student attends Rank Foundation Leadership Day

By Norpell Wilberforce, 6.1

On 13 September, I attended the Rank Foundation School Leadership Day. Prior to that, the Rank Foundation had been a mysterious organisation about which I could only guess. However, on the day all was made clear to me with perfect clarity; we were given a talk explaining the organisation’s history and their aims and were tasked to make videos centred on various aspects of leadership so that we hear each other’s ideas and learn from them.

These videos could only have ten shots lasting only a few seconds so it pushed all our cinematography skills to the limit! My group were given the question “what are the qualities of a good leader” and there were lots of intelligent answers such as resourcefulness, determination, wisdom and charisma to name but a few. However, what really resonated with me was when one of my peers answered “A good leader knows when to relinquish control”. I think that this is one of the most important qualities because the progression of time calls for different leaders with different styles; the time a leader must really step up to the occasion is when it is time for them to step down.

Despite the well-planned and engaging programme, what I enjoyed best was meeting the rest of my cohort and hearing about their summer placements and the fantastic opportunities Rank offered them. It was an immensely enjoyable day and I look forward with much anticipation to next year!

Helena Vardag-Walters’ show-jumping success

Helena Vardag-Walters

Congratulations to Helena Vardag-Walters (Block 3), who celebrated a double win her first Italian show-jumping competition this summer.

On the first day of the two-day competition, which took place in Teaterno last month, Helena won the National A** 100m on Vardags Equestrian’s Hungarian warmblood, Corino de Vardag, leading the way with a three-second advantage over her competitor in second place.

The following day, Helena returned to win again, this time on Vardags Equestrian’s newest addition, Etoile de Vardag – this time finishing an impressive 14 seconds faster than her competitor in third place.

A blog post on Vardags’ website reads: “Helena’s incredible feat over the two-day competition showed not only her unwavering commitment to the sport but also her rising talent and determination to succeed.”

Freya Hannan-Mills wins Wicked Young Writer Award


Congratulations to Block 3 student Freya Hannan-Mills, who has been crowned winner of the 11-14 Years Category in the esteemed Wicked Young Writer Awards 2018.

Freya’s short story, Mushy Peas and Battered Bits – which was chosen as the winning entry by a panel including bestselling children’s author Michael Morpurgo, How to Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell, Olivier Award winning theatre producer Michael McCabe, and Young People’s Laureate for London Caleb Femi – staved off competition from 19 other finalists.

As winner of her category Freya won four tickets to see the London production of Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Theatre, a meet and greet with the cast members and an exclusive backstage tour, as well as £50 worth of books tokens, an annual subscription to award-winning children’s newspaper First News, and £100 worth of books for Bedales’ school library donated by Hachette Children’s Books.

Now in its eighth year, the Wicked Young Writer Awards recognises excellence in writing, encourages creativity, and helps develop writing talent in young people aged between five and 25 years old from all backgrounds and areas of the UK.

Freya said: “It was a fantastic honour to win the Wicked Young Writer Award. I felt shocked and excited to have won. A highlight of the ceremony was Alice Fern, who plays Elphaba in Wicked, reading my story.”

She added: “Since being at Bedales I really feel as though my creative writing has matured and developed – I have had enormous support, encouragement and the opportunity to attend masterclasses and mentoring sessions.”

Freya, who last year appeared on stage at the Lyric Theatre, London, in the production Snow Angels which she also wrote, is currently working on another script which is due to be filmed this summer.

Freya has kindly donated a copy of the book containing her winning entry, along with the other finalists’ entries, to Bedales’ school library.

Read Freya’s winning entry here (scroll to page 66).